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b2ap3_thumbnail_hostile-work-environment-claim-form.jpgSexual harassment is a form of sex-based employment discrimination, and it against the law. In general, there are two primary types of workplace sexual harassment: quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Both can be damaging to not only the victim’s career but also to their physical and emotional well-being.

“Quid pro quo” is a phrase taken from Latin that means “something for something.” In the context of sexual harassment, it refers to a worker being offered benefits—including continued employment—in exchange for sex-related favors. A manager who promises a raise to a worker if the worker agrees to go on a date with him is probably guilty of quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo harassment is often fairly overt and easy to recognize, but this is not always the case with the other type of sexual harassment.

A Hostile Work Environment Can Develop Quietly

Hostile work environment sexual harassment occurs when the atmosphere in the workplace is such that a reasonable person would find it abusive. A situation may also be considered hostile work environment sexual harassment if the harassment interferes with the victim’s performance of his or her job. This type of harassment is often more subtle than quid pro quo harassment, and the types of behavior involved often give perpetrators what they think is “plausible deniability.”

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneyEveryone deserves to work in a place that they feel safe and respected. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be an issue in workplaces in Illinois as well as across the country. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by state and federal law.

The two main types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Just as the name implies, hostile work environment harassment occurs when sexual or gender-related comments and behaviors become so intolerable, it makes an employee unable to do his or her job. However, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of actions constitute hostile work environment sexual harassment.

Examples of Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

There are nearly countless actions which could be considered sexual harassment. Sometimes hostile work environment sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual or romantic advances. For example, if a person’s coworker constantly asks him or her on dates or makes comments like, “When are you going to finally go out with me?” this could potentially be harassment. Unwanted physical contact can also be considered sexual harassment. Employees who do not wish to be touched, hugged, or receive shoulder rubs or other physical contact should have the right to be free from such touching at work. Repeated inappropriate jokes or comments about a person’s body, sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender can also constitute sexual harassment.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysTitle VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or nationality. Unfortunately, illegal discrimination in the workplace still occurs. A prominent example of such discrimination can be found in sexual harassment—destructive conduct that remains all too common in the American workplace.

Identifying Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes the use of inappropriate language as well as behavior that interferes with an individual’s ability to do his or her job. Victims of sexual harassment may experience unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors, or unwanted physical touching. Both men and women can be perpetrators of sexual harassment as well as victims of such behavior.

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DuPage County sexual harassment attorneysMost people are aware that inappropriate touching and overt sexual advances generally constitute sexual harassment in the workplace. Verbal sexual harassment, however, includes more than just requests for physical acts and obvious catcalls. Unfortunately, many types of verbal harassment are obscured by what society tends to consider “normal behavior,” but “normal” does not make such conduct acceptable. If the behavior is consistent and unwanted—and you have made it clear that you want it to stop—you could have grounds to file a sexual harassment complaint.

What Is Verbal Harassment?

It is important to understand that verbal harassment can include suggestions, jokes, or innuendoes. It can also include a co-worker or supervisor asking inappropriate personal questions or sharing intimate details of his or her sex life. In many cases, verbal sexual harassment will be perpetrated subtly against all workers of one gender in a particular work setting, but just because no one person is singled out does not mean that it is not harassment.

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